Even a small amount of moisture, such as high humidity in a storage area, may cause magazines to develop a mildew smell. This odor is unpleasant and can prompt allergic reactions in those prone to respiratory allergies. In many cases, you won't have to throw the magazines away. As long as they are in good shape otherwise--if they are not torn and are still readable--you can get rid of the mildew smell and salvage the magazines.
Things You'll Need
- Paper weights or rocks
- Baking soda
- Soft bristled brush
- Rubber or plastic tub with lid
Place magazines in direct sunlight on a dry, clean surface. Mildew cannot survive sunlight for long--when the mildew dies, the odor soon follows. If the magazines are damp, place a towel beneath them before placing them on any surface; otherwise, they may stick.
Open each magazine to the center page. This allows maximum exposure to heat and sunlight. Place paper weights or rocks on the corners to keep the magazines from blowing shut or blowing away. Leave them in the sunlight like that for at least two to three hours.
Remove the paper weights and sprinkle baking soda between each page when the magazine is totally dry. If the pages are still a little moist, the baking soda may stick to the pages. Leave the baking soda on the pages for an hour.
Brush off the baking soda with a soft bristled brush (a soft paint brush works well).
If the magazines still have a hint of a musty scent, let them air out for another hour.
If the magazines still have a strong odor, place them in a rubber or plastic tub with baking soda sprinkled beneath and on top of the magazine. Seal the tub for 24 hours. Check on the magazines after that time: They should be odor-free. If not, seal them in the tub again.
Tips & Warnings
- If you don't plan on keeping the magazines around for long, you can also use a temporary fix--just spray the magazine with an air deodorizer to make it tolerable for a short time. This won't usually cure the problem long-term, however, and the spray will likely damage the magazine.
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